H. B. 2011
(By Delegates Guthrie, T. Campbell and Moore)
[Introduced January 12, 2011; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §14-2A-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §33-6-31 of said code, all relating to use of the Crime Victims Fund to fill-in a portion of the property damage deductible for victims of the negligence of an uninsured driver; and reduction of the deductible.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §14-2A-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended be amended and reenacted; and that §33-6-31 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 14. CLAIMS DUE AND AGAINST THE STATE.
ARTICLE 2A. COMPENSATION AWARDS TO VICTIMS OF CRIMES.
As used in this article, the term:
(a) “Claimant” means any of the following persons, whether residents or nonresidents of this state, who claim an award of compensation under this article:
(1) A victim, except the term “victim” does not include a nonresident of this state where the criminally injurious act did not occur in this state;
(2) A dependent, spouse or minor child of a deceased victim; or in the event that the deceased victim is a minor, the parents, legal guardians and siblings of the victim;
(3) A third person, other than a collateral source, who legally assumes or voluntarily pays the obligations of a victim, or of a dependent of a victim, which obligations are incurred as a result of the criminally injurious conduct that is the subject of the claim;
(4) A person who is authorized to act on behalf of a victim, dependent or a third person who is not a collateral source, including, but not limited to, assignees, persons holding power of attorney or other persons who hold authority to make or submit claims in place of or on behalf of a victim, a dependent or third person who is not a collateral source; and, in the event that the victim, dependent or third person who is not a collateral source is a minor or other legally incompetent person, the duly qualified fiduciary of the minor;
(5) A person who is a secondary victim in need of mental health counseling due to the person’s exposure to the crime committed. An award to a secondary victim may not exceed $1,000; and
(6) A person who owns real property damaged by the operation of a methamphetamine laboratory without the knowledge or consent of the owner of the real property.
(b) “Collateral source” means a source of benefits or advantages for economic loss otherwise compensable that the victim or claimant has received, or that is readily available to him or her, from any of the following sources:
(1) The offender, including any restitution received from the offender pursuant to an order by a court of law sentencing the offender or placing him or her on probation following a conviction in a criminal case arising from the criminally injurious act for which a claim for compensation is made;
(2) The government of the United States or any of its agencies, a state or any of its political subdivisions or an instrumentality of two or more states;
(3) Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid;
(4) State-required, temporary, nonoccupational disability insurance; other disability insurance;
(5) Workers' compensation;
(6) Wage continuation programs of any employer;
(7) Proceeds of a contract of insurance payable to the victim or claimant for loss that was sustained because of the criminally injurious conduct;
(8) A contract providing prepaid hospital and other health care services or benefits for disability; and
(9) That portion of the proceeds of all contracts of insurance payable to the claimant on account of the death of the victim which exceeds $25,000.
(c) “Criminally injurious conduct” means conduct that occurs or is attempted in this state or in any state not having a victim compensation program which by its nature poses a substantial threat of personal injury or death and is punishable by fine or imprisonment or death or would be so punishable but for the fact that the person engaging in the conduct lacked capacity to commit the crime under the laws of this state. Criminally injurious conduct also includes criminally injurious conduct committed outside of the United States against a resident of this state. Criminally injurious conduct does not include conduct arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle, except when the person engaging in the conduct intended to cause personal injury or death, or when the person engaging in the conduct committed negligent homicide, driving under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs, reckless driving or when the person leaves the scene of the accident or when the person involved in the accident is ruled to be negligent and is driving as an uninsured motorist.
(d) “Dependent” means an individual who received over half of his or her support from the victim. For the purpose of determining whether an individual received over half of his or her support from the victim, there shall be taken into account the amount of support received from the victim as compared to the entire amount of support which the individual received from all sources, including support which the individual himself or herself supplied. The term “support” includes, but is not limited to, food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care and education. The term “dependent” includes a child of the victim born after his or her death.
(e) “Economic loss” means economic detriment consisting only of allowable expense, work loss and replacement services loss. If criminally injurious conduct causes death, economic loss includes a dependent's economic loss and a dependent's replacement services loss. Noneconomic detriment is not economic loss; however, economic loss may be caused by pain and suffering or physical impairment. For purposes of this article, the term “economic loss” includes a lost scholarship as defined in this section.
(f) (1) “Allowable expense” means reasonable charges incurred or to be incurred for reasonably needed products, services and accommodations, including those for medical care, mental health counseling, prosthetic devices, eye glasses, dentures, rehabilitation and other remedial treatment and care.
(2) Allowable expense includes a total charge not in excess of $7,000 for expenses in any way related to funerals, cremations and burials. It does not include that portion of a charge for a room in a hospital, clinic, convalescent home, nursing home or any other institution engaged in providing nursing care and related services in excess of a reasonable and customary charge for semiprivate accommodations, unless accommodations other than semiprivate accommodations are medically required.
(3) Allowable expense also includes:
(A) A charge, not to exceed $5,000, for cleanup of real property damaged by a methamphetamine laboratory or a charge, not to exceed $1,000, for any other crime scene cleanup;
(B) Victim relocation costs, not to exceed $2,000;
(C) Reasonable travel expenses, not to exceed $1,000, for a claimant to attend court proceedings that are conducted for the prosecution of the offender;
(D) Reasonable travel expenses for a claimant to return a person who is a minor or incapacitated adult who has been unlawfully removed from this state to another state or country, if the removal constitutes a crime under the laws of this state. Reasonable travel expenses to another state for that purpose may not exceed $2,000 and reasonable travel expenses for that purpose to another county may not exceed $3,000; and
(E) Reasonable travel expenses for the transportation of a victim to and from a medical facility.
(4) Allowable expense includes a total charge not in excess of $250 of property damage resulting from the negligence of an uninsured motorist.
(g) “Work loss” means loss of income from work that the injured person would have performed if he or she had not been injured and expenses reasonably incurred or to be incurred by him or her to obtain services in lieu of those he or she would have performed for income, reduced by any income from substitute work actually performed or to be performed by him or her or by income he or she would have earned in available appropriate substitute work that he or she was capable of performing but unreasonably failed to undertake. “Work loss” also includes loss of income from work by the parent or legal guardian of a minor victim who must miss work to take care of the minor victim.
(h) “Replacement services loss” means expenses reasonably incurred or to be incurred in obtaining ordinary and necessary services in lieu of those the injured person would have performed, not for income but for the benefit of himself or herself or his or her family, if he or she had not been injured.
(i) “Dependent's economic loss” means loss after a victim's death of contributions or things of economic value to his or her dependents, not including services they would have received from the victim if he or she had not suffered the fatal injury, less expenses of the dependents avoided by reason of the victim's death.
(j) “Dependent's replacement service loss” means loss reasonably incurred or to be incurred by dependents after a victim's death in obtaining ordinary and necessary services in lieu of those the victim would have performed for their benefit if he or she had not suffered the fatal injury, less expenses of the dependents avoided by reason of the victim's death and not subtracted in calculating dependent's economic loss.
(k) “Victim” means a person who suffers personal injury or death as a result of any one of the following: (1) Criminally injurious conduct; (2) the good faith effort of the person to prevent criminally injurious conduct; or (3) the good faith effort of the person to apprehend a person that the injured person has observed engaging in criminally injurious conduct or who the injured person has reasonable cause to believe has engaged in criminally injurious conduct immediately prior to the attempted apprehension. “Victim” includes the owner of real property damaged by the operation of a methamphetamine laboratory.
(l) “Contributory misconduct” means any conduct of the claimant, or of the victim through whom the claimant claims an award, that is unlawful or intentionally tortious and that, without regard to the conduct's proximity in time or space to the criminally injurious conduct, has causal relationship to the criminally injurious conduct that is the basis of the claim and shall also include the voluntary intoxication of the claimant, either by the consumption of alcohol or the use of any controlled substance when the intoxication has a causal connection or relationship to the injury sustained.
(m) “Lost scholarship” means a scholarship, academic award, stipend or other monetary scholastic assistance which had been awarded or conferred upon a victim in conjunction with a post-secondary school educational program and which the victim is unable to receive or use, in whole or in part, due to injuries received from criminally injurious conduct.
CHAPTER 33. INSURANCE.
ARTICLE 6. THE INSURANCE POLICY.
§33-6-31. Motor vehicle policy; omnibus clause; uninsured and underinsured motorists' coverage; conditions for recovery under endorsement; rights and liabilities of insurer.
(a) No policy or contract of bodily injury liability insurance, or of property damage liability insurance, covering liability arising from the ownership, maintenance or use of any motor vehicle, shall be issued or delivered in this state to the owner of such vehicle, or shall be issued or delivered by any insurer licensed in this state upon any motor vehicle for which a certificate of title has been issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles of this state, unless it shall contain a provision insuring the named insured and any other person, except a bailee for hire and any persons specifically excluded by any restrictive endorsement attached to the policy, responsible for the use of or using the motor vehicle with the consent, expressed or implied, of the named insured or his or her spouse against liability for death or bodily injury sustained or loss or damage occasioned within the coverage of the policy or contract as a result of negligence in the operation or use of such vehicle by the named insured or by such person: Provided, That in any such automobile liability insurance policy or contract, or endorsement thereto, if coverage resulting from the use of a nonowned automobile is conditioned upon the consent of the owner of such motor vehicle, the word "owner" shall be construed to include the custodian of such nonowned motor vehicles. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, if the owner of a policy receives a notice of cancellation pursuant to article six-a of this chapter and the reason for the cancellation is a violation of law by a person insured under the policy, said owner may by restrictive endorsement specifically exclude the person who violated the law and the restrictive endorsement shall be effective in regard to the total liability coverage provided under the policy, including coverage provided pursuant to the mandatory liability requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code, but nothing in such restrictive endorsement shall be construed to abrogate the "family purpose doctrine".
(b) Nor shall any such policy or contract be so issued or delivered unless it shall contain an endorsement or provisions undertaking to pay the insured all sums which he or she shall be legally entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle, within limits which shall be no less than the requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code, as amended from time to time: Provided, That such policy or contract shall provide an option to the insured with appropriately adjusted premiums to pay the insured all sums which he or she shall be legally entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle up to an amount of $100,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to said limit for one person, in the amount of $300,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident and in the amount of $50,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident: Provided, however, That such endorsement or provisions may exclude the first three hundred dollars $50 of property damage resulting from the negligence of an uninsured motorist: Provided further, That such policy or contract shall provide an option to the insured with appropriately adjusted premiums to pay the insured all sums which he shall legally be entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle up to an amount not less than limits of bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance purchased by the insured without setoff against the insured's policy or any other policy. Regardless of whether motor vehicle coverage is offered and provided to an insured through a multiple vehicle insurance policy or contract, or in separate single vehicle insurance policies or contracts, no insurer or insurance company providing a bargained for discount for multiple motor vehicles with respect to underinsured motor vehicle coverage shall be treated differently from any other insurer or insurance company utilizing a single insurance policy or contract for multiple covered vehicles for purposes of determining the total amount of coverage available to an insured. "Underinsured motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle with respect to the ownership, operation or use of which there is liability insurance applicable at the time of the accident, but the limits of that insurance are either: (i) Less than limits the insured carried for underinsured motorists' coverage; or (ii) has been reduced by payments to others injured in the accident to limits less than limits the insured carried for underinsured motorists' coverage. No sums payable as a result of underinsured motorists' coverage shall be reduced by payments made under the insured's policy or any other policy.
(c) As used in this section, the term "bodily injury" shall include death resulting therefrom and the term "named insured" shall mean the person named as such in the declarations of the policy or contract and shall also include such person's spouse if a resident of the same household and the term "insured" shall mean the named insured and, while resident of the same household, the spouse of any such named insured and relatives of either, while in a motor vehicle or otherwise, and any person, except a bailee for hire, who uses, with the consent, expressed or implied, of the named insured, the motor vehicle to which the policy applies or the personal representative of any of the above; and the term "uninsured motor vehicle" shall mean a motor vehicle as to which there is no: (i) Bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance both in the amounts specified by section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code, as amended from time to time; or (ii) there is such insurance, but the insurance company writing the same denies coverage thereunder; or (iii) there is no certificate of self-insurance issued in accordance with the provisions of said section. A motor vehicle shall be deemed to be uninsured if the owner or operator thereof be unknown: Provided, That recovery under the endorsement or provisions shall be subject to the conditions hereinafter set forth.
(d) Any insured intending to rely on the coverage required by subsection (b) of this section shall, if any action be instituted against the owner or operator of an uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle, cause a copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint to be served upon the insurance company issuing the policy, in the manner prescribed by law, as though such insurance company were a named party defendant; such company shall thereafter have the right to file pleadings and to take other action allowable by law in the name of the owner, or operator, or both, of the uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle or in its own name.
Nothing in this subsection shall prevent such owner or operator from employing counsel of his or her own choice and taking any action in his or her own interest in connection with such proceeding.
(e) If the owner or operator of any motor vehicle which causes bodily injury or property damage to the insured be unknown, the insured, or someone in his or her behalf, in order for the insured to recover under the uninsured motorist endorsement or provision, shall:
(i) Within twenty-four hours after the insured discover, and being physically able to report the occurrence of such accident, the insured, or someone in his or her behalf, shall report the accident to a police, peace or to a judicial officer, unless the accident shall already have been investigated by a police officer;
(ii) Notify the insurance company, within sixty days after such accident, that the insured or his or her legal representative has a cause or causes of action arising out of such accident for damages against a person or persons whose identity is unknown and setting forth the facts in support thereof; and, upon written request of the insurance company communicated to the insured not later than five days after receipt of such statement, shall make available for inspection the motor vehicle which the insured was occupying at the time of the accident; and
(iii) Upon trial establish that the motor vehicle, which caused the bodily injury or property damage, whose operator is unknown, was a "hit and run" motor vehicle, meaning a motor vehicle which causes damage to the property of the insured arising out of physical contact of such motor vehicle therewith, or which causes bodily injury to the insured arising out of physical contact of such motor vehicle with the insured or with a motor vehicle which the insured was occupying at the time of the accident. If the owner or operator of any motor vehicle causing bodily injury or property damage be unknown, an action may be instituted against the unknown defendant as "John Doe", in the county in which the accident took place or in any other county in which such action would be proper under the provisions of article one, chapter fifty-six of this code; service of process may be made by delivery of a copy of the complaint and summons or other pleadings to the clerk of the court in which the action is brought, and service upon the insurance company issuing the policy shall be made as prescribed by law as though such insurance company were a party defendant. The insurance company shall have the right to file pleadings and take other action allowable by law in the name of John Doe.
(f) An insurer paying a claim under the endorsement or provisions required by subsection (b) of this section shall be subrogated to the rights of the insured to whom such claim was paid against the person causing such injury, death or damage to the extent that payment was made. The bringing of an action against the unknown owner or operator as John Doe or the conclusion of such an action shall not constitute a bar to the insured, if the identity of the owner or operator who caused the injury or damages complained of, becomes known, from bringing an action against the owner or operator theretofore proceeded against as John Doe. Any recovery against such owner or operator shall be paid to the insurance company to the extent that such insurance company shall have paid the insured in the action brought against such owner or operator as John Doe, except that such insurance company shall pay its proportionate part of any reasonable costs and expenses incurred in connection therewith, including reasonable attorney's fees. Nothing in an endorsement or provision made under this subsection, nor any other provision of law, shall operate to prevent the joining, in an action against John Doe, of the owner or operator of the motor vehicle causing injury as a party defendant, and such joinder is hereby specifically authorized.
(g) No such endorsement or provisions shall contain any provision requiring arbitration of any claim arising under any such endorsement or provision, nor may anything be required of the insured except the establishment of legal liability, nor shall the insured be restricted or prevented in any manner from employing legal counsel or instituting legal proceedings.
(h) The provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply to any policy of insurance to the extent that it covers the liability of an employer to his or her employees under any workers' compensation law.
(i) The commissioner of insurance shall formulate and require the use of standard policy provisions for the insurance required by this section, but use of such standard policy provisions may be waived by the commissioner in the circumstances set forth in section ten of this article.
(j) A motor vehicle shall be deemed to be uninsured within the meaning of this section, if there has been a valid bodily injury or property damage liability policy issued upon such vehicle, but which policy is uncollectible, in whole or in part, by reason of the insurance company issuing such policy upon such vehicle being insolvent or having been placed in receivership. The right of subrogation granted insurers under the provisions of subsection (f) of this section shall not apply as against any person or persons who is or becomes an uninsured motorist for the reasons set forth in this subsection.
(k) Nothing contained herein shall prevent any insurer from also offering benefits and limits other than those prescribed herein, nor shall this section be construed as preventing any insurer from incorporating in such terms, conditions and exclusions as may be consistent with the premium charged.
(l) The Insurance Commissioner shall review on an annual basis the rate structure for uninsured and underinsured motorists' coverage as set forth in subsection (b) of this section and shall report to the Legislature on said rate structure on or before January 15, 1983, and on or before the fifteenth day of January 15 of each of the next two succeeding years.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to use the Crime Victims Fund to fill-in a portion of the property damage deductible for victims of the negligence of an uninsured driver.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.